Governor Dannel Malloy has become the first governor (certainly the first Democratic governor) to propose limiting, undoing or undermining Connecticut’s thirty-six year old Teacher Negotiation Act.
There is simply no doubt about it. American politicians, in state after state, are pandering to the segment of voters who are calling for an end to unions and the “elimination” of public employees.
The name of the game is who can be more condescending to teachers, state employees and other public servants who do little more than sit around – getting fat, rich and happy at the public trough.
And above all else – who can do more to repeal or limit collective bargaining rights.
Republican Governor Scott Walker (Wisconsin) certainly earned that “poster boy of the year” award when he successfully repealed collective bargaining rights for Wisconsin’s public employees. [Although Wisconsin voters are now engaged in a very serious effort to recall (un-elect) Walker]
Republican Governor John Kasich (Ohio) tried his best when he signed Senate Bill #5 into law repealing collective bargaining rights for employees, but alas Ohio voters passed a referendum repealing Senate Bill #5 by a 2-1 margin.
Republican Governor Mitch Daniels (Indiana) got to use an Executive Order to repeal collective bargaining rights for the remaining state employees who had them in Indiana.
Republican Governor Butch Otter (Idaho) actually had to sign a bill to repeal collective bargaining for teachers in his state.
Republican Governor Mary Fallin (Oklahoma) was able to sign into law a bill repealing the right of employees to collectively bargain in cities with populations over 35,000.
And Republican Governor Bill Haslam (Tennessee) also used 2011 to successfully take away collective bargaining for teachers.
Laws limiting or repealing collective bargaining also became law in thanks to Republican Governor Jan Brewer (Arizona), Republican Governor Rick Snyder (Michigan), Republican Governor Gary Herbert (Utah) and Republican Governor Matt Mead (Wyoming).
Like lemmings, even a couple of Democratic governors, got into the act including our neighbor in to the north in Massachusetts.
Here in Connecticut, Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy mostly stayed out of the public anti-union stampede choosing instead to attended a few labor events, speak at an anti-Walker rally at the State Capitol and keep his efforts to demonize state employees within the confines of his budget and the Malloy/SEBAC negotiations.
However, this year Malloy changed direction and in February 2012 proposed the most anti-collective bargaining bill since the State Employee Relations Act was adopted in 1975 and the Teacher Negotiation Act was adopted in 1976.
While there has been lots of talk about teacher tenure and evaluations, Governor Malloy tends to skip over some of the finer details contained in his “Education Reform” bill.
Malloy’s plan actually outlaws collective bargaining for segment of public employees.
Section 18 of his bill creates that “Commissioner’s Network” and allows the Education Commissioner to take over up to 25 low-performing Connecticut schools and run them himself or turn them over to a 3rd party including potentially a private company.
Although his plan is probably illegal, the bill requires that all teachers and administrators in schools that the Commissioner of Education decides to take over must be immediately laid off (although apparently they can re-apply for their jobs).
But what is even more incredible is that the bill mandates that the Connecticut Teacher Negotiation Act does not cover the teachers and administrators in the Commissioner’s Network schools.
Despite the fact that they would continue to be public employees, be paid for with public funds and be teaching in a public school, Dan Malloy’s bill prevents these public employees from the rights and protections required under Connecticut’s collective bargaining law.
The irony is that since all of the “Commissioner’s Network” schools would be in urban areas with overwhelming minority populations, the impact of Malloy’s approach is that teachers in suburban and white communities would continue to have the full rights and protections provided by the Connecticut’s Teacher Negotiation Act – it is just those who are teaching in the poor, minority districts that would lose their basic labor rights.
In addition to the Commissioner’s Network schools, Malloy’s bill also restricts collective bargaining rights for teachers working at any new charter schools. After hearing over and over and over again that Connecticut’s charter schools are PUBLIC charter schools, Malloy’s “education reform” bill allows Commissioner Stefan Pryor and the State Board of Education to authorize new charter schools, provides each of them with a start-up grant of $500,000 in public funds and then goes on to require that if the teacher’s decide to join a union they only have the right to negotiate over a limited number of issues rather than the broader range of subjects are included in Connecticut collective bargaining laws.
Maybe Governor Walker, Governor Brewer and Governor Malloy can host a panel at the next National Governor’s Association Meeting about the advantages associated with repealing collective bargaining rights.